Wednesday, November 12, 2014
This loop goes up the gentle east side of Pig Farm Hill for a wonderful run through the beautiful Alhambra Valley to Pinole Valley. The ride continues into Pinole and out to the oil refineries at the edge of Rodeo and Crockett. It head up Pomona St for a fun rolling stretch along the Carquinez Regional Shoreline on Carquinez Scenic Dr.
I make my usual way out from Holiday Highlands Park on Arnold Dr to Glacier Dr and Vine Hill Way to Alhambra Ave. I’m riding out to Pinole to meet up with a club ride starting from Pinole Valley Park.
I head south on Alhambra Valley Rd to the junction at Reliez Valley Rd.
Alhambra Valley Rd continues west on flat terrain through a small residential community with front yard vineyards, orchards, and acreage homes.
After passing Deer Creek Dr, the two lane road narrows as it continues through the wooded canyon for the next couple of miles; the rolling climbs leads up to the base of east Pig Farm Hill.
The climb up east Pig Farm Hill begins at the orange left turn sign; the half mile stretch up to the summit has gradient ranges of 7-8% followed by a fast descent into the valley.
Alhambra Valley Rd continues west through the valley for another 2.8 miles on gentle flat rolling terrain.
I continue on Pinole Valley Rd to Pinole Valley Park; non one is there-looks like the group has already left-oh well.
I stay on Pinole Valley Rd through the city of Pinole and continue on San Pablo Ave out to Hercules and Rodeo. This section of the route has lots of traffic going in and out of the shopping centers and certainly around the I-80 freeway interchanges-be careful!
San Pablo Ave continues north with several climbs up to the refineries and towards Cummings Skyway.
At the high point, the road drops down towards Crockett. I take a moment to stop at the Vista Point on San Pablo Ave; it has fabulous views of the twin spans of the Carquinez-Zampa Bridge and views of Carquinez Strait and San Pablo Bay!
Carquinez Scenic Dr stretches 7 miles along the Carquinez Regional Shoreline with incredible vistas! The road sits above the Carquinez Strait with magnificent views of the scenic blue waters, coastal hills, Benicia and the Two Bridges; Carquinez Zampa and the Benicia Martinez.
The previous washed-out and cracked pavement on the 1.7 mile trail segment between Port Costa and Martinez has been totally revamped! The park district did a fantastic job of converting the old county road into a first-class hiking and riding trail with improved access to the open hills and shoreline. The cracked pavement has been removed and replaced by a 9-10 foot wide paved trail with shoulders on each side. The section where the road barely hung off the hill has been rebuilt and protected from future slides by tall pilings driven into the steep bluffs at several locations. There are sections of poured concrete platforms which looks like footings for future interpretive trail signs.
From Crockett, Carquinez Scenic Dr twists and turns around the shoreline and gently climbs up to the high point of Bush Hill at Carquinez Strait Bull Valley Staging Area.
The road quickly descends into Big Bull Valley at Port Costa; FYI-Carquinez Scenic Dr between Canyon Lake Dr & McEwen Rd is closed for road construction till December 14, 2014.
Follow the detour signs into Port Costa on Canyon Lake Dr and take Reservoir St back up to Carquinez Scenic Dr. Reservoir St is a short shaded climb on a narrow single lane road with gradient ranges of 7-11%.
Carquinez Scenic Dr continues east on gentle ascending terrain to the next high point at the new trail gate. The road descends around the Franklin Hills to Little Bull Valley.
The new 1.7 mile trail segment begins at the Little Bull Valley trail gate; the twist and turns take you along the shoreline with spectacular views of Carquinez Strait!
The road narrows at some sections with several blind curves and rolls through the oak woodlands to the trail gate in Martinez.
Carquinez Scenic Dr continues on rolling terrain through the shaded woodlands before dropping down to the lower trail gate at John Nejedley Staging Area.
Enjoy the views!
There is a short 6-7% climb from the lower gate up towards the Alhambra & Catholic Cemeteries. The road descends into the edge of Martinez onto Talbert St and Main St.
Meet up with the group at Main St Plaza:
We take Berrellessa St and Alhambra Ave south to the Hwy 4 interchange.
I split from the group and stay on Alhambra Ave to Vine Hill Way and return to Holiday Highlands Park on Center to Glacier and Arnold.
This is yet another variation of a route that includes the newly re-opened and re-paved 1.7 mile stretch on Carquinez Scenic Dr. Get out and enjoy the smooth road along the Carquinez Regional Shoreline!